March 18th, 2016 is when we learned the news that our son, Jeremiah’s heart stopped beating. At this point I was 6 months pregnant with him. The news devastated my husband and I. Jeremiah was our first child and we struggled to wrap our heads around how this loss changed everything. Through grieving Jeremiah, I quickly learned that what brought me the most peace was doing things to honor and remember Jeremiah’s life. I felt this desire as his mother to make sure that he is never forgotten and since I couldn’t hug and kiss him and tell him here on earth, how could I express that? I stumbled upon Emma’s Footprints through searching infant loss support online and learned of the memorial walk they were having at Presque Isle. I quickly texted all of my close friends and family and told them to block out the date and plan to be there if they could because we were making a team for Jeremiah! I made bracelets to fundraise for the event because I loved Emma’s Footprint’s mission and how they served families in their community that have experienced the loss of a child. I made and sold over a hundred bracelets and raised over $600 for that first walk to donate in Jeremiah’s name. It was so meaningful for me to see how much of an impact little Jeremiah’s life was able to have in helping future families of loss. I walked alongside my friends and family that day–unified by our love for such a little baby.
We attended the following year as well and were blessed to be able to bring our 7-month-old son, Joseph, with us. It was amazing to see just how much the event had grown in size! What powerful impact it was having! The Memorial Walk will be an event that our family will always be a part of because it has connected us to others who are walking the same journey as we are. It has allowed us to be bold in saying that we had a beautiful baby boy that we never had the chance to raise here on Earth but he is forever in our hearts and he is NEVER forgotten and ETERNALLY loved. — Katie Simonette
The first time my husband and I participated in the Emma’s Memorial Walk was in 2016, six months after we lost our son Uriah.
It was a tough decision on whether or not we were going to create a team for this walk – purely based on the fact that it felt so vulnerable to do. But looking back I am happy that we did because it was our first step towards the process of healing.
Standing on the pavement, waiting for the walk to begin, was the first time we were surrounded by people who understood what we were going through because they have gone through it as well. It was a very symbolic moment for me. We stood there before the walk began we listened to a well-written sermon and a beautiful song.
So many emotions all at once. I remember feeling paralyzed and unable to pull myself together to move forward. Just the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other to move forward was so hard. And then I realized this is the perfect image of what our life has been … At this moment I was paralyzed with emotion, grief, and yet trying to pull ourselves together by taking one step at a time, to walk forward in life, to walk forward towards healing. — Jaclyn Parker